What You Need to Know About Dock Building

Dock building is a common lakeside project that requires careful consideration of the shoreline and lake bottom. If the lake bed is too shallow to support a dock, dredging may be necessary.

Dock Building

Plastic lumber is a favorite material for dock planking. It is rot-resistant and does not splinter. It also resists mildew and mold. Contact Lake Norman Dock Builder for professional help.

The material that a dock is constructed from can have a huge impact on its durability, strength, and aesthetics. While there are many different materials that can be used, the most common for dock construction is steel. Choosing the right kind of steel is crucial because it will ensure that your dock is safe and will last a long time. Some materials, like wood, are not suitable for marine environments because they can rot and weaken over time. However, many companies offer wood that has been specially treated and sealed so that it will stand up better to water and weather.

The type of material you choose will depend on the type of dock you want to build. For example, if you are building a floating dock, you will need to decide whether to use pilings or posts. Pilings are generally made of wood, but some are also made from concrete and steel. Regardless of the material you choose, it is important to make sure that the piles are firmly anchored in the water with blind bolts. These bolts are especially vital because they will help to keep your dock from shifting or moving in the water.

Other materials that can be used for docks include aluminum and roto-molded foam-filled floats. While these may cost more upfront, they will provide excellent buoyancy and durability. They are also resistant to punctures and whole breaks. They will also hold up well to saltwater and are easy to maintain.

Before you begin construction, it is important to compile a list of materials and tools that will be needed. Some of the most common dock packages include pressure-treated lumber and galvanized hardware. It is also important to have a plan for the layout of your dock and to double-check all measurements. You will also need to determine whether you will be using pilings or posts, depending on your pond’s characteristics and local regulations.

Once you have chosen the type of material you will be using for your dock, you will need to choose a location and install it. If your dock will be a permanent structure, you will need to prepare the ground by digging holes and installing footings. You will then need to secure the pilings or posts using a pile driver or water jetting technique. If you are using a float, you will need to place them in the water and secure them with anchor cables.


When building a dock, it’s important to think about how it will be used. A dock can be a place to tie boats, or it can serve other purposes. For example, it can be a gathering space for friends and family, or it could be a spot to watch the sunset. Regardless of its purpose, a dock needs to be sturdy and safe for people to use.

The type of materials you use for your dock will affect its final look and how well it will hold up to the weather. Choosing materials that are rot-resistant and can stand up to the water will ensure your dock lasts for years. Some common options include redwood, cedar and pressure-treated pine. However, a variety of other materials are available for those looking to get a unique look or save on cost.

It’s also important to consider the size and shape of your dock when planning it out. Many states and localities have regulations for dock construction, so be sure to check with your town or municipality before starting the project. Some areas may require a permit, while others have specific requirements for the type of dock you can build.

Before purchasing materials, you should draw out your plan for the dock’s dimensions and structure. This will help you determine what materials and tools are needed. You will also need to determine how much of the dock will be submerged in the water. Ideally, most of the dock should be above the waterline to prevent damage from harsh environmental conditions and bacterial growth.

For a more versatile design, consider building seating into your dock. This is a popular trend that improves functionality and reduces costs. For example, this homeowner built benches into the dock planking to eliminate the need for additional furniture.

If you’re constructing your dock on your own, be sure to have the proper tools and safety equipment. The basic tools you’ll need to start construction include a circular saw, drill, tape measure and stakes. You’ll also need a ladder and a ladder jack. In addition, it’s important to have a dock-building book on hand for reference and step-by-step instructions.


A dock is a structure in water that supports a walkway and provides a place to moor boats. It can be made of a variety of materials, including wood, concrete and steel. It is important to choose a durable material that can withstand weathering, saltwater corrosion, UV radiation and other environmental factors. The choice of material will also affect the overall cost and maintenance of the dock.

A floating dock can be secured using pilings driven into the lake bottom or by using a concrete anchor. The latter is preferable as it creates a sturdier footer. Regardless of the type of dock, it is important to anchor it to prevent it from spinning around in windy or wavy conditions. A concrete anchor should weigh at least 250 lbs. A dock builder can prepare concrete anchors for installation by screwing a large eye bolt into the dock’s land-side corner and attaching it to a thick galvanized steel cable. The cables should be crisscrossed, and each one should connect to the corresponding anchor.

Before beginning a dock project, gather the necessary tools and make a list of materials. This list should include pressure-treated lumber, galvanized hardware, decking material and concrete footers. A circular saw, drill, level, tape measure and safety equipment are essential. If you are building a wooden dock, opt for cedar boards. These are rot-resistant and are ideal in high-moisture environments. Other options include composite or a more affordable pressure-treated pine or spruce.

Once the frame and outer posts are in place, the dock can be finished with decking material. It is important to use quality materials that are resistant to rotting, algae growth and insect infestation. It is also a good idea to use stainless steel fasteners. These are more corrosion-resistant than galvanized ones and will last longer.

Dock builders typically undergo a three- or four-year apprenticeship, and on-the-job training is an important component of the program. Throughout the apprenticeship, dock builders receive instruction from experienced journeymen and manufacturers, as well as specialized training on new technologies and tools. They may also be required to complete Occupational Safety and Health Administration courses, standard first aid and CPR certifications, and tool or skill-specific certifications.


Regardless of the type of dock you have, routine maintenance is essential to extending its life. Inspecting the entire structure regularly, especially after extreme weather or ice conditions, helps to ensure that your dock is safe for use. When signs of damage are spotted, it is important to act quickly to prevent further deterioration.

Some of the most common repairs that are needed for docks include replacing damaged boards and repairing loose or broken hardware. It is also important to repair rot and rust, which can be caused by prolonged exposure to water. This is why choosing a decking material that can resist warping and rotting, like pressure-treated wood or PVC, is critical to long-term durability. Additionally, using galvanized hardware will help to ensure that your dock remains stable over time.

Another important component of dock maintenance is re-staining and applying preservatives in the off-season, when the water levels are lower. This allows the stain or preservative to penetrate the wood and provide long-lasting protection against damage from sun and wind. It is also important to choose an environmentally friendly cleaning solution and to apply the preservatives in accordance with manufacturer instructions.

Docks serve multiple purposes in the maritime industry, from mooring large ocean-going ships to berthing container ships for loading and unloading cargo. They can also be used for the maintenance, repair and even construction of ships. Despite their diverse functions, they are essentially all designed to keep vessels afloat at an adequate water level and protect them from external forces like marine borers and otters.

If a dock is not maintained properly, it can experience serious deterioration and even be deemed unsafe to use. In addition, an improperly maintained dock can become damaged during heavy storm events and ship collisions. These occurrences can lead to accelerated deterioration of protective coatings, and missing or damaged pilings can lead to larger spans that put strain on other structural members. This can compromise the safety and integrity of the facility, which is why routine inspections and maintenance are key to extending its useful life.


Materials Used in Dock Construction

Whether you’re using your dock to store boats or just enjoying the outdoors, you must have a sturdy structure. The best way to ensure that your dock is constructed correctly is to work with professional builders.

Dock Construction

When choosing a builder, you should look at their experience. It’s also important to consider their pricing and if they offer a guarantee. Contact Dock Construction Near Me for professional help.

Docks are the link between land and water, so they must be strong, durable and safe. This is why there are so many different construction materials used to build them, each with its own pros and cons. Wood is a popular option for boat docks because it has a natural look and feel to it. However, it is important to keep in mind that it can be susceptible to rotting and insect infestation if it isn’t treated properly.

A more long-lasting and visually appealing alternative to traditional wood is cedar wood. This type of dock material resists rot better than pine, and it can also be stained to match your personal style. It’s also a better choice for those who are looking for a more ecologically friendly option, since it is derived from sustainable sources.

Another advantage of cedar is that it can be left to naturally weather, reducing the amount of maintenance needed over time. However, it is still necessary to treat the wood with a protective chemical coating at least once every year. The cost of this treatment can add up over the years, so it may not be as affordable as other options.

Concrete is another common material for dock pilings. It’s not as stylish as other options, but it’s very sturdy and often reinforced with steel to improve its tensile strength. In addition, concrete is naturally resistant to decay, so it can last a very long time when properly cared for.

While some dock builders specialize in specific types of construction, most have general responsibilities that include directing cranes and installing large, heavy timbers. They also use welding equipment and oxy-acetylene torches to cut, join and fasten metal elements. In addition, they often take part in drafting and designing technical and advertising layouts using AutoCAD and Photoshop software. Moreover, dock builders must complete a three or four-year apprenticeship that includes significant on-the-job training. Additionally, they must pass an Occupational Safety and Health Administration exam and obtain various industry certifications, including first aid and CPR. Lastly, they must be licensed to operate heavy machinery and scaffolding.


Concrete is a popular material for docks because it’s durable and long-lasting. It also stands up well to harsh marine environments. Unlike wooden components that need to be treated with chemical preservatives, concrete doesn’t release toxins into the water. Concrete is also a more stable and safer material to work with than wood, making it an ideal choice for people who want to build their own docks.

While there are a few different ways to make a concrete dock, the most common involves digging deep into the bed of your lake or pond using jetted power. Then, a concrete footer is laid in the bottom of the hole to support the structure and prevent it from moving or sinking. Once the foundation is in place, a floating concrete slab is placed on top of it. Finally, a deck is added to the concrete to allow boaters and swimmers to enjoy the water.

Because a concrete dock is such a strong and sturdy structure, it can handle large boats and even high-speed waves without shifting or cracking. It can even be buried in the ground to provide additional support and security. However, a concrete dock is not suitable for sandy or silty beds, as it would quickly sink in those conditions. In these cases, a steel or wood-based dock might be more appropriate.

To determine the strength of this type of dock, a number of tests were performed. The wave slam load, uplift force, and lateral loads were calculated from the coastal engineering manual (FEMA 2011).

In addition to determining the sturdiness of the dock, the test results showed that it could withstand a 50-foot-long vessel at full displacement, which is sufficient for most boaters. The results also confirmed that the connections between the finger piers and main piers could safely withstand the thrust of an approaching vessel.

To improve the durability of the iDock, the pile-cap-slab connection was designed to use noncorrosive FRP bars and a combination of three different concrete mixes adapted for marine applications. The concrete mixes were chosen to achieve class IV compressive strengths at 28 days.


When it comes to dock construction, steel is the sturdiest, strongest option and as such is often used in commercial and marine industries. Fastened with blind bolt pile bolts the heavyweight material does a superb job of creating a solid platform in the water that can cope with almost anything thrown at it from extreme stormy weather to the regular wear and tear of day to day use. Once it has been built a dock made from steel is very difficult to move or destroy and as the metal itself protects against corrosion and damage minimal maintenance is required.

Pilings are a critical part of any dock construction and there are many different types that can be used. Wood and PVC are suitable for lighter loads while concrete and steel are suited to those with a higher weight requirement. The load capacity of a piling is determined by how deep it is driven into the soil and this in turn determines how stable a dock will be. Areas with strong currents require that the pilings be driven further into the ground to provide adequate support and materials like steel are better suited to this than concrete.

Building a dock using steel piles is not an easy task and can be extremely dangerous if it is not completed by a professional. One of the most common mistakes that people make when attempting to build their own dock is not marking for fasteners. This can be a huge mistake as it makes it nearly impossible to drive nails and screws at an even distance from the ends and edges of boards. This is why it is so important to get the help of a trained professional who will be able to ensure that all the fasteners are correctly placed.

Steel pilings for a dock are usually constructed from either galvanized or stainless steel. Plain carbon steel is not recommended as it will corrode in contact with water, especially if exposed to saltwater.


A dock’s foundation must be strong enough to withstand the elements. The most common materials for dock pilings are wood and steel, although there are other options, including aluminum. While wood can rot and steel can rust, aluminum does not. It also resists corrosion better than other materials, making it a smart choice for boat dock construction and other uses in the marine industry.

There are two ways to build aluminum dock sections: welded and non-welded. Most companies that produce aluminum docks weld their sections together, but there are a few higher-end brands that use non-welded sections, which make the assembly process much quicker. Welded dock sections are usually cheaper but will also rust more quickly, so it’s important to do your homework and choose a company that produces quality aluminum products.

The other reason that aluminum is a smart option for boat docks and other types of docks in the marine industry is that it can last a long time. It is also sustainable, meaning that it takes less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to produce primary aluminum. This helps to reduce your carbon footprint and keep the environment green, which is always a good thing!

Another benefit of aluminum is that it does not rust or attract pests. This means that you will spend a lot less time maintaining your dock, as it does not need staining or other treatments. While you do have to clean it occasionally, it is much easier to maintain than a wood or concrete dock.